2012 Chorus America Awards Announced

Chorus America has announced the recipients of its 2012 awards program, recognizing a broad range of achievements in choral music, including artistic excellence, adventurous programming, innovative education programs, generous philanthropy, and lifetime service to the choral art.

“The exemplary leadership demonstrated by these deserving individuals and organizations serves as a model for all choruses as they strive for success in their communities,” said Ann Meier Baker, president and CEO of Chorus America.

Independent panels selected the following individuals and choruses to receive awards, which will be presented at Chorus America’s 35th Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN, June 13-16, 2012.

Chorus America Distinguished Service Award

The Chorus America Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member whose long-term service to the choral field significantly furthers Chorus America’s mission “to build a dynamic and inclusive choral community so that more people are transformed by the beauty and power of choral singing.”

The 2012 Distinguished Service Award goes to John Hoyt Stookey, founder and first president of the Berkshire Choral Festival. A successful businessman and music patron, Stookey combined his great love for choral singing with his entrepreneurial skills to found the Berkshire Music Festival in 1982, a summer choral program that has served thousands of dedicated amateur singers for 30 years.

Chorus America/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming and Alice Parker Award

These awards recognize choruses that demonstrate a sustained commitment to adventurous programming through performances of choral music written in the last 25 years. The 2012 winners are:

  • San Francisco Choral Artists, Magen Solomon, artistic director
  • Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble, Linda Raney, music director
  • Piedmont-East Bay Children’s Choir, Robert Geary, artistic director

The Chorus America/ASCAP Alice Parker Award honors composer Alice Parker, whose career has spanned six decades and has been devoted to the creation of works for the human voice. The award was established in 2003 to recognize a chorus for programming recently-composed music that expands the mission of the chorus and challenges the chorus’s audience in new ways. The 2012 award goes to Coro Allegro, an adult volunteer ensemble in Boston led by David Hodgkins. The ensemble collaborated in a world premiere by Kareem Roustom that expanded the singers’ musical world as well as exposing their audience to a brand new compositional voice.

Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence

The Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence honors the memory of Margaret Hillis, founder of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, for her more than 40 years of professional achievement and outstanding contributions to the choral art. The $5,000 award is presented annually to a member chorus that demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure, and a commitment to outreach, education, and/or culturally diverse activities.

The 2012 Hillis Award goes to the Los Angeles Master Chorale, directed by Grant Gershon. Currently in its 48th season as a founding resident company of the Music Center of Los Angeles, LAMC is a professional chorus that advances choral music through an ambitious program that includes performance, community education, collaboration, touring, commissioning, and recording. LAMC serves the diverse, multicultural region of Southern California, annually reaching more than 30,000 audience members for its wide variety of programs. Throughout its history, LAMC has built the ensemble and audience around the twin pillars of the classic choral/symphonic repertoire and vibrant contemporary works, primarily by American composers.

Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art

Named after one of the founders of Chorus America, this honorary citation was established in 1978 to honor an individual with a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art.

The 2012 Korn Founders Award goes to Duain Wolfe, conductor and director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Since his appointment to the post in 1994, Wolfe has prepared the fully professional Chorus for more than 100 programs in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as for 11 recordings. Wolfe is also director of the Colorado Symphony Chorus, which he founded in 1984, guest director of choruses for the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada, and founder and artistic director emeritus of the Colorado Children's Chorale.

Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal

The Botto Award was established in memory of Louis Botto for his artistry, selfless service to the choral art, and entrepreneurial spirit in founding the men’s vocal ensemble Chanticleer. The award is given periodically to a mid-career choral leader who, through his or her work with a member ensemble of Chorus America, has demonstrated innovative action and entrepreneurial zeal in developing a professional or professional-core choral ensemble.

The 2012 Botto Award goes to Donald Nally, founding conductor of The Crossing in Philadelphia. Nally conceived of and built a professional ensemble, The Crossing, which programs only new music. He found the singers who shared his vision and together they gave world-class performances. Now in its sixth season, The Crossing has built a faithful audience and devoted funders, and receives excellent critical attention.

Dale Warland Singers Commission Award

Chorus America and the American Composers Forum have partnered to present this award to honor Dale Warland’s lifelong commitment to new music as embodied through his work with the Dale Warland Singers. The $5,000 award is made possible by the Dale Warland Singers Fund for New Choral Music, a permanently restricted endowment fund established in 2004.

The 2012 recipient of the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award is the Young People's Chorus of New York City, directed by Francisco J. Núñez, who will partner with composer Missy Mazzoli to commission a new choral composition, her first for children’s choir. It will be performed during the 2012-13 season as part of YPC's new music series, Transient Glory, which seeks to expand and invigorate the choral repertoire for children and teenagers. Mazzoli's music has been performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles worldwide; she is currently composer/educator in residence with the Albany Symphony.

Chorus America Education Outreach Award

The $2,500 award is presented to a Chorus America member ensemble whose education outreach program demonstrates mission-based program development, viable music education, effective management and fiscal integrity, a commitment to artistic excellence, and a collaboration that is sustainable, beneficial, and meaningful for all partners.

The 2012 Education Outreach Award honors the best collaborative program, and goes to Lawrence Children's Choir, in Lawrence, Kansas, for a multi-generational program that brings their youngest singers (pre-school through third grade) together with their elder choir Crescendo (seniors aged 76 to 96 from two local retirement communities) for several performances, including special programs within the retirement communities. The program strengthens LCC's ties in the community and fills a need for creative stimulation among the seniors, some of whom experience dementia and minimal access to the performing arts.

Michael Korn Founders Award for Philanthropic Contribution to the Arts

The Michael Korn Founders Award for Philanthropic Contribution to the Arts is given to an individual, corporation, or foundation whose financial support of Chorus America and the choral art has been especially significant and generous.

This year’s award goes to The McKnight Foundation (Minneapolis, MN), to recognize its support for leading choruses in the Twin Cities area as well as two key Chorus America programs, the Chorus Management Institute and the 2009 Chorus Impact Study.

Chorus America Philanthropic Award

The Chorus America Philanthropic Award recognizes an individual, corporation, or foundation whose financial support has been especially significant and generous to the host(s) of Chorus America’s Annual Conference.

The 2012 Chorus America Philanthropic Awards go to Louise Heffelfinger and the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation for their support of 2012 Conference hosts, VocalEssence.

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